Summary: 6th message in an 8 week series on the Lord’s Prayer. This one deals with the phrase: "as we forgive those who sin against us..."
Can You Hear Me Now? Good! Week 6
MATTHEW 5:44, 6:12b & 14-15
There are several jobs I can think of that would be uncomfortable and I wonder why anyone wants to do them. One is a traffic cop. In a lot of departments there is an officer(s) assigned to the traffic division. Their job is to run radar, write tickets & work accidents during their entire day of duty. One of my friends who worked that detail used to say that almost every person he stopped would be mad at him. He finally started saying to them.. “Listen, you think you’ve got it bad.. How would you like a job where you never made a friend all day?” Or how about being an IRS agent? I knew a man who did that job and he said he hated going to social gatherings because sooner or later the inevitable question would surface: “And what do you do?” As soon as he told them he became like a pirana at the party, no-one talked to him. But maybe one of the worst jobs is the one Max Lucado in The Great House of God mentions. The Collection agent. You know the person whose job it is to get people to pay their past due bills. Lucado writes: “What kind of person would enjoy such a job?..Don’t get me wrong, I understand why such an occupation is necessary. I wonder how comfortable you could be at a job that makes everyone else feel bad. Who wants to be a missionary of misery? An ambassador of agony? No one wants to take their calls. No one is happy to see them at their door. Can you imagine what their spouse says to them as they go to work? `Make ‘em squirm, honey.’ I mean, who is their hero? Godzilla? Their payday is in your paycheck, and they are out to get it. Can you imagine spending your days like that?”
But wait, perhaps you can, perhaps we all can. Don’t we all at one time or another demand payment from someone else? We deserve: an apology, an explanation? a thank-you? a childhood? a marriage? I mean, it probably wouldn’t take any of us very long to think of someone who owes us - possessive parents, unappreciative children, insensitive spouse, inattentive friend.
Jesus said, “Pray like this..” and in Mt. 6:12a said: “Forgive us our sins..” We like that. But then He adds, “..just as we have forgiven those who have sinned against us.” Just had to add that didn’t He? I mean, it’s great to discuss the encouraging message about God’s forgiveness. What a joy to have His “anytime minutes,” His forgiveness. We learned they are free and are ours, when we have Jesus as our Savior, just for the asking. But now we turn from encouragement to challenge. We move from His “anytime minutes” to our “rollover minutes.” Cingular claims to be the only wireless company to offer this perk. They say, “Rollover Minutes are unused, accumulated, anytime minutes that roll over from month to month.” Well, this morning I want us to say, “My rollover minutes are those that I’ve accumulated from God’s anytime minutes, His forgiveness, and now I am to roll those over to anyone who has wounded me.” So, let’s look at how we are to react when we’ve been injured or wounded by another, because dealing with this issue is at the heart of happiness and at the heart of the Lord’s prayer.